January 23, 2012By Russ


I have exciting news! After only ONE blog on the subject of going green, I have received a question from one of The Stay at Homer’s loyal followers, Emily Finnelly, and I am thrilled to answer it. Emily writes:

Dear Stay at Homer and his Going Green wife,

I love the new website. Easy to use, easy on the eyes, fun content. I think it’s missing an “Ask Gayle” or “Ask Russ” option. I will be your first question.

I’ve wondered what creative/witty/High-larious quips or anecdotes you may have to the problem of broken toys. I don’t know what to do with them. The desire to fix them some day is strong. I can’t stand throwing things away because I don’t want to buy them again. It’s just annoying. But then, there are some things, like the scoop of a mini-skid steer that I realize I will never get fixed. But then, I don’t want to throw them away either because it seems like junk in the landfill that doesn’t need to be there. And, I don’t want to give away or donate broken stuff…I’m not sure if I’ve clearly stated my conundrum, but I’ve included a picture to show you some of the issue. I’d love to hear what you guys have to say on the issue!

Wondering about our Misfit toys,
Emily Finnelly

Turn your trash into educational treasure!

Dear Misfit,

You have come to the right place! At our house, a broken toy is not really broken until it’s unrecognizable. When a toy breaks at our house we use it as a chance to teach our kids how the toy was made…and the best way to do that is to dismantle it completely. Hours of fun have been had prying off car doors, unscrewing tires, and ripping out wiring. When done, you’re left with a pile of parts that is still not yet junk. Next step, try to rebuild what you just took apart, or better yet, bring in other broken toys and make something totally new! Instead of a run of the mill truck, pry some arms off of that old doll that’s missing a head, throw in a pair of Mr. Potato Head eyes, stick some random action figure legs on the bottom, and you’ve got a Transformer truck. The possibilities are endless, and you never know…you just might get as lucky as my boys did when our neighbor left a PowerWheels car curbside because it would no longer run. Russ and Noble snatched it up, took apart every piece and cleaned it. Next thing you know, it’s running perfectly again!

Noble even made a “to do” list of parts to clean.

Now, Noble drives Alistair around the back yard while mom and dad take a well-deserved break (note: the break ends quickly when Alistair no longer wants the ride but Noble still insists he’s driving with a passenger and Alistair can only be that passenger).

But remember, since all this dismantling requires things like screw drivers, glue, scissors and such, you’ll want to make sure to outfit your kiddo with the latest in safety gear, and always make sure you’re right by their side to join in the fun!

At least Alistair is close to being protected.

When a toy has been reanimated too many times and is reaching the point of no return, it’s time to hit the recycling bins…many of them are plastic after all, so check with your local waste disposal company to find out if your bits-and-pieces go into the regular curbside bin or need to be dropped off at a special location.

Happy breaking!


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